Ask Jack: Overqualified, the Undead, and Job of the Week

Office Zombie
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An AOL Jobs reader wishing to remain anonymous asks:

I'm working from home, secretly working on my résumé and a job application. I'm now wondering if the job is too "junior," and yet I feel compelled to apply anyway just to see what might happen. What would you do?

I'd lie down on the couch, open a big bag of Cheetos, and see what was up next on my Netflix queue. Oh, wait, you're not asking how I would "work at home." It's true, many bosses and HR reps will take one glance at a résumé and dismiss the person as "overqualified." But if you're really interested in the organization, applying can be worth your time. You never know -- a more senior position may be opening up, or if you're a perfect fit for the place, they might even "enhance" the existing opening. Just be sure to address the issue in your cover letter: Point out your experience, and explain how that will benefit them. If you're willing to accept a pay cut, definitely mention it -- often they simply assume they can't afford a veteran employee. Then work your way up, past all the slackers who are -- cough, cough -- "working at home."

Reader Jim, a cemetery worker, wants to know:

If one of the dead people I'm burying isn't actually dead and I hear banging coming from the inside of the casket, should I open the casket myself or leave that for the undertaker?

Talk about a graveyard shift! But "buried" in this question, I think, is an important point about taking initiative. Before making these decisions, you need to really understand your boss. Is the person a control freak who will be threatened by your take-charge attitude? Or will they be impressed that you stepped up when the situation demanded it? It's also crucial to have a good read on the scenario. In your example, if the person was buried alive, time is certainly of the essence. But what if it's a zombie? Then leaving the casket tightly sealed is likely the preferred course of action. If you're unsure of the consequences of taking initiative -- or unwilling to accept those consequences -- the middle ground is probably the best way to go. Inform your supervisor of your idea, and let them make the ultimate call. At the very least, it shows the boss that you care about your job. Ya dig?

Click here for last week's questions

Do you have a work-related question for Jack? Write it in the comments below (better answers to this week's questions are also welcome!) or tweet it @AOLJobs with the hashtag #AskJack.

Jack's Job of the Week

There are two job openings at the Estes-Leadley Funeral Home in Lansing, Michigan: garage attendant, and grounds & building maintenance. (Responsibilities for that second one do include "shoveling.") If you're dying for a new job, search now at AOL Jobs. There are thousands of brand-new job listings, coast-to-coast -- everything from manual labor to executive posts. Do it now!

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